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Yevhen Malyshev, a 19-year-old Ukrainian biathlete, was among the many who died this week fighting off Russia's invasion of his homeland, the International Biathlon Union confirmed Wednesday.
The IBU expressed its condolences in a statement announcing the indefinite ban of all Russian and Belarussian athletes from international competition, at the advice of the International Olympic Committee. The organization's executive board will reportedly discuss a potential suspension for both federations by its meeting on March 17.
The IBU expressed solidarity with Ukraine amid the unprovoked attack by its neighboring power:
"Above all, the EB expresses its deepest condolences on the loss of former Ukrainian biathlete Yevhen Malyshev (19), who died this week serving in the Ukrainian military. The EB once again condemns the Russian attacks on Ukraine and the support provided by Belarus and reiterates its hope for an immediate end to the war."
Per Spanish outlet Marca, Malyshev competed on the Ukrainian national team before moving on from the sport two years ago.
It has been unclear how many Ukrainian soldiers have died in the fighting, though recent reports estimate more than 2,000 citizens to have been killed and many more to have fled.
Ukrainian athletes joining fight as Russian athletes face bans
Malyshev was hardly the only Ukrainian athlete, current or former, to join the fight against Russia. Champion boxers Wladamir Klitschko, Vitali Klitschko, Vasiliy Lomachenko and Oleksandr Usyk have all enlisted with defense forces.
Usyk did so despite it delaying his upcoming heavyweight title defense, a rematch against Anthony Joshua after capturing the former champ's WBA, WBO and IBF belts. Eddie Hearn, the promoter of the match, said Wednesday they are willing to wait as long as it takes for Usyk to return to boxing.
Olympic karate medalist Stanislav Horuna has also joined the fight, pledging to "kill every occupant who invades."
While Ukrainian athletes take up arms, an increasing number of Russian athletes are being sidelined or being forced to compete as neutral athletes.
In addition to biathlon, federations governing international hockey, soccer, basketball, track and field, figure skating, skiing, volleyball and many more have banned the participation of Russia in international competitions, while entities such as the NHL, NBA, boxing organizations and Formula 1 have move events out of the country.